I wonder what the heck I’ll do with my MessagePad when I finally purchase my iPhone, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder. Some still use their Newtons everyday even after Apple has given up on it. But what are some modern, practical applications for the MessagePad? Let’s take a look.
- Get GTD with it. Pardon the ghetto talk, but the first thing I used my Newton for was a getting-things-done gadget. I use my calendar, my to-do list (although I still haven’t quite got the hang of it), and the Notepad to keep tons and tons of lists and reminders. There are Newton applications out there to help you get started, too, no matter what Newton version you use. I refer to my MessagePad 110 as my “memory box” because it really helps to keep my brain organized.
- Take control of your finances. Apps like Pocket Quicken and ProCalc can take your financial information on the go. Spend, save, and track all with your Newton. Since it’s always with you, your MessagePad may help you finally slay the balanced checkbook dragon. If you don’t yet have a financial system in place, here’s your chance.
- Read a book. Who needs a Kindle? Reading is possible with an eBook on the Newton using solutions like PaperBack or Newton Press. War and Peace, anyone?
- Take inventory. In March, I got started on a big, nasty home inventory project – logging all my possessions for insurance purposes. Put your Newton to work by jotting down book ISBNs, music collection titles, or even comic books. Take a backlit MessagePad into the attic and finally get those dust-collecting collectibles under control, and use a program like QuickFigure Pro to organize all the data.
- Keep a travel log. I’ve been thinking about this since I’ve started planning my big New England trip. What better use for a Newton than to store directions, sites-to-see, and helpful reminders as you travel on some adventure. With its faxing capabilities, I’ve even thought of using my Newton to keep co-workers up-to-date on where I’m at and what I’m doing.
- Play a game (or two). Retro gaming is all the rage now – why not fire up your Newton to play some Newtendo or the tried-and-true games like chess. MessagePads are like a GameBoy, without the buttons!
- Dig out your OS 7+ Mac. I’m a low-end Mac geek, and I look for any excuse to play around on my Mac SEs or Bondi iMac. There are tons of Macs in the world collecting dust; why not break yours out and hook up the MessagePad’s serial cable and relive days of yore? Gather the kids around and show them how good they have it now. Show them the MessagePad’s recharging station, and let them know how the iPod dock idea came to be.
- Impress your co-workers. I’ve seen this one in action first hand. If you’re having trouble talking to a co-worker, start scribbling on your Newton. Questions are bound to come up.
- Write your own Newton Poem. Break out that English Lit 101 textbook, or Perrine’s Sound and Sense, and see how your favorite poem looks all garbled and mistranslated.
- Rescue yourself during emergencies. Just imagine: boxes of something fall on top of you. You’re stranded in your office or garage, and you can’t reach your phone. But you have your Newton on you, and a fax, and access to a phone line. Fax for help! Use your Names database to fax off a SOS, and relax knowing those fire trucks will be arriving any minute now.
- Hold keyboard vs. handwriting recognition Olympics. If you can’t make it to Beijing to watch this summer’s games, hold your own competitions with keyboard fans. This thread in Newtontalk inspired an idea: set up a keyboard and a Newton, and race to see who can write a certain amount of words – say, a Shakespearian sonnet – the fastest. Then see which one has the most errors. Cut out tin foil medals for the winner.
- Study! Someone recently asked the Newtontalk list about flash card-style apps for the Newton. A, B, or C?
The possibilities are almost endless. The point is that the Newton is a viable monochrome platform in today’s millions-of-colors world. Think of something I forgot? Let me know in the comments!